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Low-frequency MHD mode activity was studied at the TJ-II stellarator. A spatiotemporal Fourier technique was used to resolve frequency-degenerate modes. By means of this technique, several MHD modes could be identified in discharges with a spontaneous confinement transition in different but similar magnetic configurations. The configurations differed mainly with respect to the radial position of the rational surfaces, thus allowing the reconstruction of a poloidal mode rotation profile based on the mode activity, which was found to be consistent with earlier work. The detected mode spectrum also provided an explanation for the bicoherence observed in one of the configurations after the confinement transition. Both the mode spectrum and the velocity profile were closely reproduced by nonlinear resistive MHD calculations in simplified geometry. As a consequence, the magnetic Reynolds stress is hypothesized to play an important role in the establishment of the velocity shear layer in TJ-II and the concomitant confinement transition.
fusion plasmas; turbulence; stellarator; flow; fluctuations; confinement; tokamak; field